Romantic relationships can be great. No doubt they can enrich our lives in plenty of ways.
I’m certainly no “man hater”, so I’m not going to knock them. But for large stretches of my adult life, I’ve been very happily single too.
In fact, I spent 7 years of my 30’s flying solo and it was one of the happiest times of my entire life.
The point is, I know firsthand that you certainly don’t need a man to be happy. The trick is, that you do need to know how to make yourself happy.
Here are some of the traits that help you do just that.
1) An adventurous spirit
Whenever we seek safety to the extreme I think there’s more of a risk that we will try to find that sanctuary within someone else.
So you’re more likely to crave the comfort of someone else to hide behind.
I’ve known some women who have told me their dreams but quickly followed them with:
“But I don’t want to do it alone”.
There’s no doubt, that life can feel scary.
But here’s something pretty cool:
Your body experiences nerves and excitement in exactly the same way physically.
So those butterflies you get from uncertainty could be either anxiety or anticipation.
In many ways, what determines your interpretation is the framework you choose to use.
Women who don’t need a man to be happy are prepared to embrace the adventure of life.
They aren’t waiting around to find “the one” before they start living their best lives.
2) Self-responsibility to the extreme
Too many people have unrealistic expectations of what a relationship will do for them.
But in reality, it is not your automatic ticket to:
- Endless joy and good times
- A sense of belonging
- Fulfillment and meaning
So much so that research has shown that being married only accounts for 2 percent of subjective well-being later in life.
That means that even with a man by your side, 98% of your happiness is still down to you.
When we go into a relationship expecting it to be the missing piece of the puzzle in our lives, we end up bitterly disappointed.
Because there are still bad days, low moods, and irritations. Having a man hasn’t magicked away all your problems.
Sure, in the beginning when you’re flooded with feel-good hormones it may provide a pleasant distraction.
But that’s no different from any temporary high we may chase in life.
The women who make themselves happy don’t try to offload responsibility for their happiness onto anyone else.
They shoulder 100% of that responsibility.
They believe that their feelings, thoughts, and actions are all on them.
This does something fundamental:
It empowers them.
They stop waiting for Prince Charming to come along and save them. They roll up their sleeves and save themselves.
3) A deep appreciation for all that you already have
It’s all too easy to pin our happiness on what we don’t have. We assume it’s waiting to be discovered somewhere “out there”.
It’s that pesky little phenomenon known as ‘the grass is always greener on the other side’.
Meaning: it’s an irritating side effect of human nature to wonder what we might be missing out on.
Grateful women are always happier women, whether they are single or in a relationship.
Because appreciation helps us to stop staring off into the distance and focus our attention on the blessings right here in front of us.
Women who don’t need a man to be happy aren’t sitting around lamenting on all the Netflix and chill sessions they’re missing.
They’re reminding themselves of all the freedom, friendship, and frivolity that is available to them as a single gal.
The truth is that every potential life path we’re on will always come with pluses and minuses.
Grateful women choose to feel good by remembering the pluses.
4) An independent streak
It’s true that some of us naturally enjoy time alone more than others. As an introvert, I’m lucky that solitude already feels like bliss to me.
But even if you’re not built that way, you can learn to value space and independence.
The more independent you become, the more comfortable you are doing things alone.
Don’t get me wrong, we all need company and connection.
I’m not suggesting for a moment that life without a man means a life where you must go it alone.
But independence is a learned skill. And as you develop it, your confidence and self-belief grow as a consequence.
You see how much you are capable of — far more than you may have imagined.
As you do, you feel increasingly badass.
Suddenly the things that once would have felt like a big deal become no biggie at all.
Let’s face it, we’re no longer trying to fend off bears and build shelters just to stay alive.
For the 21st-century woman, there’s a YouTube video for everything you need to know.
Self-sufficiency is a skill worth investing in, regardless of your relationship status.
It’s nice to lean on others, but it’s even nicer to know that when push comes to shove, you can rely on yourself.
5) A healthy dose of realistic optimism
Being an optimistic realist combines the best bits of both optimism and realism.
Research has shown that optimists are generally happier, healthier, more successful, and even live longer.
Having a positive outlook on life helps us to be more resilient during difficult times too.
So there is little doubt that optimism can play a vital role in our wellbeing.
But when we also introduce a good dash of realism, we help to keep our feet on the ground.
That can be very helpful if we don’t want to get swept away with naive notions about romance. Especially when society shoves it down our throats from day dot.
If you are to be happy without a man in your life, you can’t buy into the fairytale of ‘happily ever after’.
Adding a pinch of realism to your optimism means you know that there is no such thing as a perfect life (or a perfect man).
The journey is always going to have ups and downs regardless.
6) The self-awareness to figure out what makes you tick
The thing that keeps way too many women unhappy isn’t the absence of a man in her life. It’s the inability to figure out what will make her happy.
That takes self-awareness.
With self-awareness, we can dig deeper into our emotions, thought processes, and belief systems.
These are the things that truly lie at the heart of our well-being.
Without it, we can stay stuck.
Because self-awareness helps you:
- Figure out who you really are
- Decide who you want to be
- Consider what will get you there
The bottom line is:
The better acquainted we become with ourselves, the better we get at fulfilling our own needs and wants (rather than hoping someone else will).
7) Self-compassion to become your own best friend
I’m going to try my best to not be too cheesy. But I wholeheartedly believe that we have to learn to be our best friends in life.
But us women can be so hard on ourselves, right?
We berate ourselves for every single perceived flaw.
We beat ourselves up for every mistake we make.
We hone in and fixate on the slightest imperfection.
We’d all be a lot happier if we could only learn to cut ourselves some serious slack.
That means learning to keep in check that inner critic who says discouraging things to us on repeat.
Looking to introduce more positive self-talk and curtail the negative mental loop certainly helps.
But no matter what, it all needs to be done with compassion.
Learning to forgive ourselves (and life) for not being perfect is like taking a big sigh of relief.
It helps us remove the burdens we place on ourselves and lightens our load.
The more you get on your own side, the stronger you become.
It no longer feels like you’re walking through life alone, simply because you’re doing it without a man by your side.
You always have me, myself, and I for company.
8) The balance to widen your world out much further than one man
It’s okay to want a relationship. I don’t think we have to convince ourselves otherwise.
A partnership can bring something valuable to your life. But the key difference is between wanting it and needing it.
It is far more likely to feel like a need if you build your entire world around it.
That’s why women who still feel contented both in and out of relationships have a well-rounded life regardless.
They aren’t putting all of their eggs in one basket, so to speak.
They give time, energy, and effort to plenty of aspects that create a balanced life.
- Health and fitness
- Friendship and family
- Ambitions and goals
- Learning and growth
- Spirituality and ethics
- Finances and career
Having hobbies, interests, dreams, and strong connections, outside of any romantic relationships we may decide to start, all play a part in our happiness.
If we neglect these, we’re less likely to feel fulfilled even when we do have a man in our life.
A man may well bring you moments of love, joy, and meaning. But so too can many other things for that matter.
What they can never do is “make you happy”.
Nobody can do that but you. It is an inside-out process that only we can choose and work towards.
Happiness isn’t a gift given to us, it’s one we give ourselves.